Humans are Changing the Climate and Global Warming is Real

3 June 2010

Ray Wills, CEO
Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA)

A small digest of facts for the record from Professor Ray Wills, Chief Executive of the Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association Inc. (WA SEA), and Adjunct Professor with The University of Western Australia.

The 20 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1981, and the 10 warmest have all occurred in the past 12 years.

Last year, 2009 was only a fraction of a degree cooler than 2005, the warmest year on record, and tied with a cluster of other years — 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2007 1998 and 2007 — as the second warmest year since recordkeeping began.

The latest analysis from CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology, shows Australia has experienced the warmest decade since records started in 1910, reaffirms the solid evidence on climate change and a warming planet.

The UK Met Office continues to predict that 2010 is more likely than not to be the warmest calendar year on record, beating the 1998 record.

‘Global temperatures are rising – its been measured, it is a fact. Science has established that the cause of rising global temperatures is human-induced climate change,’ says Prof Wills.

‘In relation to the science, every qualified scientific body in the world, from the Australian Academy of Science and the Royal Society as well as the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Chinese Academy of Science, accepts unequivocally that global warming is a reality and agrees that warming is caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.’

‘It is also a fact that almost all of the assembled governments of the world, most of the large publically listed companies, inclusive of banks, insurers, miners, and engineering firms, accept that human induced warming is a critical issue on which we need to act.’

‘There are a fair swag of people that put much “faith” in a few scientists who have become snake oil salesmen giving people something they want to hear (that we humans couldn’t possibly be irresponsible enough to cause global warming) in the arena and who draw conclusions unsupported by the data. In that case I emphasise the word “faith” because the weight of scientific evidence does not support their case,’ says Prof Wills.

‘The debate sparked at the end of May 2010 on immunisation, where parents have been warned over anti-vaccination messages, offers an analogy: if a medical practitioner came out and said that the evidence for immunisation was made up, that the researchers that conducted the work were biased and only did it through self interest to gain research funds, and that the institutions that supported the work were corrupt, the medic would be severely reprimanded, if not expelled, by the AMA.’

‘For the past two years, the climate denial groupies who ignore the published data and have used this exact form of attack to denigrate the science in a successful campaign to confuse and cloud the clear role of human activities creating climate change.’

‘Let me be clear: climate change is real, the impacts are already proving dire and will only get worse; humans are causing it, and we need to stop,’ says Prof Wills.

In relation to today’s story about WA Water Minister Graham Jacobs stance on climate change:

‘The public service role is to deliver frank and fearless, objective advice based on all available evidence. It is not the role of a Minister to change Departmental advice, but to make decisions for the benefit of the community based on the advice received. That does not mean the Minister must accept that advice, but certainly in such an instance, must then justify why they might believe ignoring the advice is in the best interest of the community,’ says Prof Wills.

‘However, modifying the advice on instruction from the Minister is not acceptable.’

‘If discussions go before cabinet to take action on greenhouse gas emissions, such action will no doubt be considered a lower priority or unimportant by those that fail to understand the science. If the Minister for Planning puts forward green city initiatives, or the Minister for Energy proposes strong renewable energy targets, or indeed, if the Minister for Transport wants to put in light rail, the imperative for such action may not be treated with the priority it deserves if the basis for action is wrongly challenged on the basis of poor science.’

‘Anyone in a position of influence that fails to prioritise action or worse actively delays action on climate change because they fail to understand the science puts everyone on the planet at risk.’

‘In the meanwhile the rest of the world is getting on with positive dialogue and proposing solutions,’ observes Prof Wills.

As recently as yesterday, U.S. President Barack Obama has stated the next generation must not be “held hostage” to energy sources from the last century and it’s time to “aggressively accelerate” the transition to a clean energy economy.

Editors notes:

1. The world’s leading research groups document human impact – one example:

2. Scientific bodies accept of human-induced global warming

3. Temperature record – Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)

4. The role of CO2 in warming the climate is clear:

5. Parents warned over anti-vaccination

6. U.S. President Barack Obama on clean energy

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